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Nonfiction November 2014 – Become the Expert – Shakespeare

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Nonfiction November has been amazing for picking up book recommendations and it’s only the second week! This week is hosted by Leslie at Regular Rumination and the topic is Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert which I love because I never would have thought about this otherwise.

BECOME THE EXPERT – SHAKESPEARE

I love the Bard, but realized while I have watched many of his plays and movie adaptations of his plays, I haven’t necessarily gained true insight into what makes Shakespeare a genius. I put together a list of books I think might help me become more of an expert.

shakespeare Collage

How to Read Shakespeare by Nicholas Royle – Even though I love his plays, I have a heck of time reading Shakespeare because the dialogue is so hard for me to grasp. Described as a personal master class, this seems like a good way of addressing my shortcoming.

How Shakespeare Changed Everything by Stephen MarcheEsquire columnist, Stephen Marche’s book appeals to the pop culture lover in me as it talks about how Shakespeare permeates our everyday lives.

Shakespeare by Michael J. Cummings – A definitive guide that analyzes all of the plays and poems of Shakespeare, as well as answers all of the questions we have about his work.

Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson – Since there are hundreds of Shakespeare biographies out there, I thought I might as well start with Bryson since he’s such a popular nonfiction writer. Does anyone have any other recommendations?

A Feminist Companion to Shakespeare edited by Dympna Callaghan – Nineteen essays by women address the importance of Shakespeare to feminism and feminist issues.

Have you read any of these books or have suggestions? How is your Nonfiction November going?

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22 comments on “Nonfiction November 2014 – Become the Expert – Shakespeare

  1. janceewright
    November 12, 2014

    I LOVE the Bill Bryson biography of Shakespeare, and until now, I had forgotten it existed. Like everything Bryson writes, it’s humorous and fun and illuminating. I think you’ll love it!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      November 13, 2014

      Thanks, so good to know when someone else likes a book I’m thinking of reading.

      Like

  2. semicolonsherry
    November 12, 2014

    A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 by James Shapiro
    http://www.semicolonblog.com/?p=1093

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      November 13, 2014

      Thanks for your recommendation. I will read your review more closely later today.

      Like

  3. Naomi
    November 12, 2014

    I don’t know very much about Shakespeare, but I do like learning about the time period he lived in. The two that appeal to me the most are the Bill Bryson and the Stephen Marche. I also like learning about where things originate from.

    Like

    • Naomi
      November 12, 2014

      Are you planning to read all these?

      Like

      • ebookclassics
        November 13, 2014

        It’s unlikely I will read them by the end of 2014, but this post is good motivation to read them next year.

        Like

  4. My Book Strings
    November 12, 2014

    I haven’t read any of the books on this list, but I am interested in the Feminist Companion. There are some memorable and strong female characters in Shakespeare’s plays, so I’m sure there’s lots to talk about. Boy, November isn’t even half-way over, and I already have a full page of books I want to check out.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      November 13, 2014

      I know what you mean, I’ve already started books I hadn’t heard of until this month! I agree that the Feminist Companion is very interesting when you think about all of Shakespeare’s female characters, so very curious to read the essays.

      Like

  5. Cleo @ Classical Carousel
    November 13, 2014

    Ooo, these look good! If you want some other recommendations, could I add The Life and Works of William Shakespeare by William Henry Oliphant Smeaton & A Preface to Shakespeare by Samuel Johnson. It’s very interesting to compare modern commentary with older commentary because I find in some cases they tend to emphasize very different aspects of the plays. I honestly find the older commentaries more positive and the modern ones more critical, but I haven’t read any of the ones you listed yet. I’ve also heard that Peter Saccio’s Shakespeare’s English Kings: history, chronicle, and drama is excellent as is The Meaning of Shakespeare by Harold C. Goddard.

    I’m doing a Shakespeare marathon at the moment and you’ve reminded me that I should be adding commentaries. Now I’m off to check out some of your suggestions!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      November 13, 2014

      Thanks for the book recommendations! Very interesting, I wonder what drives the difference in criticism. Just a change in our social conventions and views of life? Good luck with your Shakespeare project, I’ll drop by your blog to check it out.

      Like

  6. Brian Joseph
    November 13, 2014

    I love your list of Shakespeare books. I read Shakespeare by Michael J. Cummings and I second your recommendation.

    Though he is controversial, I would add harold Bloom’s Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human to such a list.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      November 13, 2014

      I really want to read this book, so thanks for letting me know it’s worth the time. I came across Bloom’s book during my research. What makes his views controversial?

      Like

  7. Brona
    November 13, 2014

    Mr Books is our family Shakespearean. We have several of these books on the shelf…just unread by me. I’m saving for my retirement (in 20 yrs time!!)

    In the meantime, I will settle for the occasional play 🙂

    http://bronasbooks.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/my-year-in-non-fiction.html

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      November 13, 2014

      It will probably take me until retirement to read Shakespeare’s play and actually understand what I am reading!

      Like

  8. Pingback: Nonfiction November Week 2 Roundup! | Regular Rumination

  9. hillarypat
    November 14, 2014

    The Bill Bryson biography of Shakespeare is pretty good. Its short, but as Bryson makes known, there is surprisingly little that we know about Shakespeare’s actual life outside of his work.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      November 19, 2014

      Everyone seems to agree this is a good one. Maybe it’s good to start with a shorter biography and then build from there.

      Like

      • hillarypat
        November 22, 2014

        that might be a good idea; its super short but it gives a good overview and it is a pretty interesting read as well!

        Like

  10. Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)
    November 16, 2014

    One of my biggest shames as an English major was that I almost graduated from college without taking a class that covered Shakespeare. I remedied it with a study abroad class in London, but really, I don’t know as much about The Bard as I should. Great list!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      November 19, 2014

      Studying in London sounds fabulous! I am familiar with Shakespeare’s work, but not him and I don’t think watching Shakespeare In Love counts.

      Like

  11. DoingDewey
    November 19, 2014

    I love Shakespeare and I’ve never read any of these, so I’ll definitely be adding some to my to-read list! Great idea for a topic.

    Like

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